Rising unemployment in the information technology industry
spells more trouble ahead in the already crime-ridden internet
banking and payments market, warns US online security firm
“We have seen a trend of unemployed IT personnel finding new and
easy income by purchasing and using crimeware toolkits that are
sold by professional hackers,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Finjan’s
chief technology officer.
“We believe this was just the beginning of a wider trend we will
experience in 2009 and 2010.
“Having the large number of layoffs of IT professionals all around
the world, especially in the USA, we expect a rising number of
people willing to ‘give it a try’ and to get stolen credit card
numbers, online banking accounts and corporate data they can use to
generate income,” he added.
This growing threat comes at a time when online crime has already
reached alarming proportions.
This was highlighted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
revelation that in 2008, revenue from online crime exceeded drug
trafficking for the first time as the most lucrative illegal global
business and is estimated to be worth more than $1 trillion in
illicit profits annually.
The FBI’s estimate was endorsed by Ben-Itzhak, who pointed to
findings by Finjan’s Malicious Code Research Centre that members of
an online criminal affiliate network the centre had researched were
raking in $10,800 a day, or more than $39 million a year.
“If you extrapolate those figures across the many thousands of
cybercrime operations that exist on the internet at any given time,
the results easily reach a trillion dollars,” said Ben-Itzhak.